Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Operation: "Dejar la Llama"

Well, I´m currently about to bang my head against the computer screen because the music in this internet place is so loud!  I´m not sure what the new zone leaders were thinking.
Well, last Saturday we got the call for the new transfers. It was surprising to find out that I´ve been transferred to a new zone......Pachacamach 2......BUT I´m here to stay in Floresta! Yay! President Douglas changed the zone limits here in Villa El Salvador and changed the names to accomadate the division of a new Villa El Salvadar stake! On June 2, there will officially be a whole new stake called Pachacamac here. It really goes to show how hard the missionaries are working to advance this great work!
The second great piece of good news is that I´m training!!!! Surprisingly, I already met my companion before he was a missionary........huh. Elder Borda is from Canete, my last zone, and came to Mala once to help us do a big activity knocking doors! He´s temporarily waiting his visa to head over them mountains to La Paz, Bolivia. But I´ve been blessed to be his trainer over the next six weeks! Yesterday we had a chance to do a bit of proselyting together and I´m super impressed. He has a great spirit about him and a natural way of teaching in a simple, powerful way. Also, a great laugh! I´m excited to be his first non-CCM companion in the big bad mish.
Thirdly, I forgot my USB to send you guys the photo of the baptism last Saturday. It was a chaotic process getting all the baptismal interviews and other arrangements out of the way for Saturday, but it was a great success! With Yhon and Rosa, the hitching and dunking process was so fun (again, again!) Now we´re focused on two of their other sons, Andres and Luis, who seem to be a bit more animated to join the church.

Jhon Quintana had a vision the night after his baptism that comfirmed his future role in bringing his whole family into the gospel. Apparently, in his dream, I was baptizing him in a huge river with ward members and missionaries observing from the banks. Suddenly, it was the end of the world and an angel descended from heaven saying "Choose which door you must enter". Then two doors appeared in front of him, one wide, the other narrow. All the members and missionaries entered into the narrow door, leaving Jhon behind to choose which to enter. He said there was an evil voice that was tempting him to enter into the wider door, but he resisted when he thought it would be better to follow the rest by entering the narrow door. After entering, he said he was surrounded by a beautiful, cloudy landscape, where all the missionaries and their families were there. He said he had never felt such joy and peace, and that he never wanted to leave. Once again, a voice came to him indicating that their were 10 people he was meant to bring there but 6 hadn´t yet entered through the narrow door, and Jhon realized that his family wasn´t with him. Before he could respond he woke up, but knew what he was supposed to do. All this he told was right before his confirmation at church on Sunday morning. What a nice coincidence when you read 2 Nefi 31:9.

 At the baptismal service, Alexis and Amy´s mom, Mary Lou, gave them both big enthusiastic hugs and kisses as they climbed out of the baptismal font. Alexis and Amy are now on a mission to get their parents married and baptized in June.We have plans to get in gear with collecting their documents as the massive marriage ceremony is on June 22.

 Well, let´s just say that Saturday night, after the baptismal service, I slept more profoundly than ever before from exhaustion.
I guess it´s time for the bad news. Last Friday, at the very last moment, Edward told us he didn´t want to get baptized. We had an interesting lesson a few days before where his mom and two aunts were present. At first we had a great lesson going. Suddenly the doorbell rang, and in came the LLAMA. A man of about five feet with a maroon sweater and yellow collared shirt, and to complete it all, almost bald. THIS was the man Regina had mentioned a few days earlier, who ended up being her daughter, Maria´s, secret......well, adulterer. AAaaahahhhhhh in that moment I wanted to die. But we continued the lesson as if we didn´t mind him listening. THEN, just to complete the situation, the doorbell rang again, and in came Edward from school. It was Sooooo awkard........but hey, Edward sat down and in the middle of our lesson asked a key question. "Elder, what happens when someone has a double personality?" We already knew what he was heading towards, but it was too late, Elder Gutierrez, in despair, pretending as if nothing was wrong, said, "what do you mean?"  Edward responded, "What happens when a man already has his girl, and then he goes to see another girl. And what if he´s already married and has kids? Because THIS man right here already has his family and my mom is his girlfriend!" Then the llama exploded. They had, well....... a little argument because Edward hates the Llama. We just sat and watched as the embarrasment engulfed Maria. Basically we left that lesson telling them they all need to repent and be better examples. Now Maria never wants to see us again, and has influenced Edward not to get baptized. The Llama has her hooked so far, even though he just uses her for money....and other stuff...uhhhhhhhh.....ugh. It was a true tragedy, and there´s worse that could happen right? Not really.Things like this aren´t too uncommon down here.But hey, we still have hope to help them dig themselves out of a dirty situation and recieve forgiveness. So our new plan with them is called, OperaciĆ³n: "Dejar la Llama". Things like this just help me look further into the healing power of the Atonement in uniting families and saving souls.
Anyway, we currently have Lucero and Lucia with baptismal dates in June. This next week we have to do a bit of recontacting with them as last week was so crazy busy. Also, we have couple newer families, Alvarado and Munoz, who we´ll now be focusing on more. There´s always more work to be done here, and more people who need the saving ordinances of the restored gospel!
I´m grateful for the time that I have as a missionary. Each day I´m realizing more and more how short the time really is. Already almost nine months!!! That means almost a year, and then 18 months, and them I´m back home. But hey, I´m taking it all in as much as I can while it lasts, and the Lord is working within, and outside of me as I strive to be odedient, faithful, diligent and teachable. I love this gospel because I know it changes lives and families, and is changing my current family and preparing my future one. I love you all so much and wish you all another great week! You all deserve the best!
Elder Lundberg

Gearin' up!

Wow. It´s been yet ANOTHER week in which the time has flown by without even realizing. I guess that comes along with being stressed out with so much to do! We´ve been working hard to protect our investigators with baptismal dates for this month of May, and gearing up with all those who we have in June. In our agenda it´s nearly impossible to find space these days.

This past week we had several baptismal interviews for Alexis, Amy and Edward, the youngsters, last Friday night. We thought it would be a good idea to get them cleared up and ready to go a week early. Yhon , Rosa, and Jhon Quintana have their interviews on Wednesday. On top of that, Yhon and Rosa are getting married on Wednesday, and all six have their baptism on Saturday! So it´s full "chamba" this week as they say in Peru.

Maria, Edward´s mom, has been a bit of a challenge to find home this past week with her job as a nurse. Lately she´s had a lot of overtime, and without very many labor laws in Peru, the jobs here are pretty exhausting. However, Maria continues to be excited for her baptism on June 8th. We´ve been teaching her son without her these past few days. Saturday, however, they had an argument and Edward slept over at Grandma´s, Regina, and didn´t want to come to church because of his frustration with his Mom. So during the second hour we zipped down to his house from the chapel to drag him out of bed and get him to sacrament meeting. After talking it out with him he expressed to us his frustration and we helped him get more excited for his baptism. He´s an incredible kid, makes us laugh with his silly comments, and despite difficult family problems, I know the Lord will bless him with peace and comfort.

Another investigator, Lucia Poma, has a baptismal date for the 8th of June. She reminds us a lot of Regina in the way she commits and demonstrates her great faith. However, she works as a caretaker for an old lady of about 92 years, and her job makes it a little difficult to find time to visit. We gave her a Book of Mormon to give to her patient with a testimony written on the front page. Lucia told us that it would be a great idea because even at 92 years old, her patient loves to read and has her marbles together. She wasn´t able to come to church yesterday because of an emergency call, but we´ll be able to focus more on her these next few days.

Lucero had her baptismal date for this Saturday, but due to some personal problems, we´ve decided to move her to June 8th, giving her time to make a greater, more profound change. She has some bad family influences that have caused her some grief and makes her feel guilty, but with patience and love, she´s slowly opening up to us and depending more on the Savior to change her heart.

Anyway, there´s always more to tell, but not enough time to say it all. However, I just wanted to wish my mom "Happy Mother´s Day!" and I can´t wait to see you all in the skype sesh tonight! Also, what exciting news it was to hear that Connor is headed to Chile and Katie to Honduras! AAAAaaaahhhhhhhh!!! Wow, we´ll all be able to speak spanish together! Lo maximo!

I love you all sooooooo much! Have an excellent week!

Elder Lundberg

Can anybody say "Temple Triiiiiiiip!!!!"?

Well, it´s been another excellent week here in Floresta! The work continues to flourish here as Elder Gutierrez and I continue in the work of the Lord. It´s kinda sad that I´ll only have my companion for two more weeks and then he´s outta here......but hey, just taking advantage of the time we have to work together.

This past week we´ve had the privilege of going to the temple as a zone. After taking a billion pictures outside before the temple session, we entered inside and to my surprise, one of the American temple workers, I forget his name, scanned my temple recommend and handed me a paper saying, "hey, if you write your mom a little note here with her number on it I´ll call her and let her know how you´re doing." I thought that would be a super great idea and so I wrote down the info and gave him a hug for such a nice offer. It sounds like it had some pretty good results : ) But hey, the mother´s day skype sesh is comin´up here pretty soon! Yay! See you guys soon! Anyway, the temple was a great time to reflect and ponder the time I´ve had as a missionary and who I want to become. I love the temple!

 As of yesterday, we currently have twelve investigators with baptismal dates. I couldn´t believe it! Because the norm is maybe 2 to 4. It just goes to show how much the Lord has blessed us these past few weeks. So I wish I could tell you about all of them but the time just doesn´t allow.

With our investigators things are really going pretty well. Remember last week when I said that I´ve never had such an easy time helping a couple get married? Well, I cursed myself because later that day we compared the Jhon´s ID card and his birth certficate only to find out that his name is spelled "Yhon" instead of "Jhon" basically, because of one SINGLE letter the Peruvian government puts up a huge fuss and they can´t get married until the documents match. But we´ve already started with getting him a new ID card and have hopes that they can still get married and baptized on the 18th. So I guess we´ll see.......the best was seeing how dedicated Jhon, or now "Yhon", was in getting it all figured out. His aunt is a member of the church in the ward, Hermana Nasaria, and is one of the strongest converts to the church I have ever seen in my life. With her helping us out with Yhon and Rosa´s marriage process, nothing, not even the Peruvian government, can stop us haha. Whenever we come back as a family to Peru to visit after the mish, Yhon and Rosa, along with their aunt Nasaria, are definitely some of the members (or future members) we´re going to visit!

We also have the Miranda family, Mary Lou (32), Jose Luis(31), Alexis(15), Amy(10), Leonardo(7), Leticia(5), and Fernanda(2). They´re a wonderful bunch and love it when we come to visit their humble house made of bricks and cardboard. On Friday we did a Family Home Evening and talked about how sacrfice brings blessings. We watched the video about John Tanner in Spanish and they were all so attentive to the lesson. Afterwards, we shared a big muffin cake that the Mission Leader, Hermano Rober, brought along. The biggest challenge is getting Jose Luis, however, to come to church. Yesterday everybody came to church except him, even though he promised he would. Alexis and Amy will be having their baptism on the 18th and this next week we´ll be having their baptismal interviews. But little by little we know this family will make a great impact in the church. They´re our next focus on getting the parents married in June.

Maria Candela and her son Edward continue to make excellent progress. I love visiting with them because she´s a hilarious lady with a great sense of humor and a huge heart as a nurse. At times she tells us about her complaints with some of her patients. Yesterday she had plans to come to church with her mom, Regina, and her son, but couldn´t because, in her own words referring to an old patient, "That old hag wouldn´t let me go to church will all her whining!" But she´s looking to find a new job to come to church on Sundays more easily and now has a baptismal date for the 8th of June. Her son has a date for the 18th of May.

Anyway, I wish I could just go on and on but that´s all the time that I have. I love you all so much and pray for you. Thank you for all your prayers in return. For all that it´s worth, just know that my testimony of the restored gospel strengthens me each day as I represent Jesus Christ, our Savior, in a very different part of the world.

See y´all on Skype!

Elder Lundberg

Faith + Action = Answers to our Prayers

Well, first of all, just like all of you, this week has been such a testimony building experience for me. I wish I could´ve been there to see Alise´s baptism! I love you so much Lisey Lou!  Every time I get to witness a baptism, I always think of Hunter´s baptims several years ago and how stongly I felt the Spirit then. Nothing compares to seeing Primary baptisms.

First of all, we had a surprise visit from Elder Bednar to our mission last Wednesday. Talk about how pumped I was to see an apostle! Elder Gutierrez and I woke up bright and early so we could meet up with the zone as we all headed for La Molina in Lima, which is where the temple, the CCM, and the main church office is for several countries in South America. First of all, we got caught in the middle of traffic while on the train where the bodies were so packed we couldn´t move and the doors couldn´t shut completely while in the stations. It was horrible! The same with the amount of crazy taxi drivers in the busy streets. Despite the commute, we made it in time to the stake center where all the missionaries were seated.

The whole meeting lasted about 3 hours. The way in which Elder Bednar was very different in comparison with General Conference, which is always incredible to see because you get to see more of their personality. He approached the whole meeting as a sort of question and answer type of reunion. Instead of us just taking copious and pointless notes for us to lose and forget on what he says, he challenged us to only write down what we learned by the Holy Ghost. He asked us questions, we responded, and he commented or testified. Later, we asked questions, he responded with more questions, we commented, then he commented and testified! It was pretty incredible. Much of what we talked about was how faith plus action is what brings answers to our prayers. Without acting for the desired blessings, we have "weak faith". One thing that really impressed me was the intelligence of Elder Bednar. He was like a stream of heavenly knowledge just pouring down on the congregation of elders and sisters. One thing he expressed was that he really doesn´t feel all that smart, but that he completely relies on the Spirit in anything that he asks, testifies, or says. More and more throughout the meeting the Spirit bore withness to me of the reality of Savior and the power of the restored gospel. Elder Bednar really made me do some internal reflecting as a missionary and member of the church. Any question that came to mind to ask Elder Bednar I was able to respond almost immediately for myself in my own head, which he said was what he hoped we were doing while together for a short time. At the very end, Elder Bednar bore a simple testimony as a personal witness of Jesus Christ. At that very moment the Spirt rushed in so strongly that I couldn´t hold back tears. I just simply knew he was an apostle of the Lord.

At the very end, one by one, each elder and sister had the opportunity to shake the hands of Elder Bednar, Elder Pino, and Elder Useda of the Seventy along with their incredible wives. The face of Elder Bednar was iluminated with the light of Christ as I looked into his face and shook his hand as he said, "Thank you Elder Lundberg!"

So yeah, that was definitely a highlight of the mission so far!

This past Saturday we had the baptism of our dear investigator and now member of the church, Hermana Regina! I had the privilege of baptizing her. As you can see in the photo I forgot to bring my sandals so I was barefoot during the session! But it was a special moment for Regina as she and I carefully entered the baptismal font together. She was a little shocked by the cold water and little by little dipped a bit further in. Some of the chapels here don´t have water heaters so be grateful back home! Anyway, Regina did absolutely fantastic! As she took her towel she said, "Tengo ganas de llorar!" and began to cry into the arms of one of the sisters to change in the bathroom.  Her testimony was short and powerful afterwards as she witnessed her joy to a crowd of about 30 people.That was a sweet experience for us a her missionaries because we knew how seriously she had made a covenant with the Lord. Now, as a member of the church, we´re working with her daughter Maria (the bigger lady in the photo) and her grandson Edward who´s fifteen. The best part is that they´re both just like Regina, smart, faithful, and fully prepared to recieve the restored gospel! Like before, Edward has his baptismal date set for the 18th and Maria is looking for a new job so she can attend church on Sunday. Soon enough she will have a baptismal date end of May or in June! We might need two missionaries to baptize her haha....but for reals......

Also, Jhon and Rosa Urbina continue to progress nicely toward their baptism on the 18th as well. We received a lot of good news from the municipality this week as they will be having a "matrimonio masivo" or "massive marriage" ceremony in June. The best part is that starting on the sixth of Maythey can sign all the papers to become legally married right their on the spot and then have the fiesta in June. Plus it´s less than half the cost. Elder Gutierrez and I felt SO blessed by the news because getting couples married never happens to smoothly! We´re also working with two out of their four sons who aren´t baptized, Andres(18) and Luis(15), (David was baptized in March and Josue is only two years old ), and you can really start to see the conversion kick in as Jhon and Rosa began testifying of the gospel during a lesson last nigh with the whole family gathered together. It was a special experience and certainly a blessing to see two parents, after so much struggle and emotional pain, come together in love for their sons. Yet another powerful witness of the changing power of the gospel in the lives of such humble people.

Anyway, we also have Jhon Quintana set for May 11th. We had a bit of trouble contacting him this past week because his cellphone was robbed (something which seems to happen to everybody here haha), but he came to church yesterday and continues to be excited for the next two weeks we have to prepare him spiritually.

Anyway, I testify that God really moves within our hearts through the Holy Ghost. I know that Jesus Christ, with all the suffering he went through, understands our struggles and pains, but also our joys and successes. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints brings happiness if we choose to live according to the principles of the Gospel, which are correct and eternally true. As Jade always says, "Make good choices!" We are to act according to our faith, and God with make wonders in our lives, callings, and families! Especially all three of mine!

I love you all so much!

Elder Lundberg

Watch out folks, Floresta is about to be translated!

Dear everybody,

This has been another incredible and blessed week here in Floresta, Villa El Salvador. The time has been going by so fast I can hardly believe it. Elder Gutierrez is an incredible companion and we´re really seeing the fruits of our labors. We have an incredible group of investigators who are excited to receive the blessings and be obedient in living the gospel.

I guess I should start off by saying that we had twelve investigators come to church yesterday! Which is basically unheard of, but the Lord has blessed us with five families! The best part is that all of our investigators are member references, which really goes to show the importance of the members in supporting the missionaries by sharing the gospel with friends, neighbors, and family. My companion and I have been seeing a lot of excitement and growth of faith in the ward leaders and their desire to work. Floresta is becoming a powerful little part of the kingdom of God.

Regina, literally the best Peruvian woman around, introduced us this week to her daughter, Maria. She has arms that could suffocate or crush my head! We had a visit with Regina while Maria was over at her house helping with Sebastian´s homework. Maria, with a big attitude, refused to sit down with us after we invited her to join us for the lesson, but she stayed at the table at the other end of the living room while we taught a simple lesson on the Word of Wisdom. As usual, Regina was totally prepared and once again, pretty much gave us the lesson on how much she loves the Prophet Joseph Smith and the revelations that he was able to recieve on maintaining healthy lifestyles as saints by inspiration of the Lord. Right in the middle of the lesson however, Maria piped in from across the room with a question, "can´t I drink coffee from time to time? Like once a week or so?" Elder Gutierrez and I were excited because we could tell she was quite interested in what her mom had to say. We began to explain the blessings that come as we keep away from alcohol, drugs, tea, coffee, and tobacco,  and the Lord really began to touch Maria´s heart as she responded in her big booming voice, "When are you youngsters gonna visit me?!" We soon learned that everybody in her neighborhood knows her as the honorary "Senora Candela." Nothing like a good nickname in the ghettos of Lima, Peru. Images of a huge Peruvian woman crushing my head between her arms came flashing back into my mind.......

Later this past week we had two lessons with Senora Candela and her 14 year old son, Edwin, who came to church yesterday and absolutely loved it. Maria wasn´t able to come because of her job as a nurse, but she´s gearing up to clear up her schedule so she can come to church. After a powerfully spiritual lesson on the Restoration yesterday evening, we put a baptismal date for Edwin on May 18th. Her mom told him, with tears in her eyes, "Yo te sigo hijo." Translation, "I follow you son." Soon enough Maria will have a baptismal date once we know better her work schedule! Thank you Regina!

We also came across a sort of problem with our ivestigator, Aylin. Being only seventeen years old, her dad won´t give her permission to be baptized. So we´ve had to sort of hold back a little. This next week we´ll be praying hard for her dad so he can soften his heart and let his daughter be baptized. 

We also have the parents of family Miranda getting in gear for thinking of a marriage date. Amy and Alexis, two of their five kids have a baptismal date for the 18th of May. Little by little we´re working with their dad, Jose Luis, to soften his heart and help his partner, Mary Lou, find a new job so they can all come to church as a family.

This past week we were introduced to some neighbors of the Elder´s Quorum President, Lucia and her son, Moises. Although only 22 years old, Moises has already been to jail twice. But despite his past, he has been prepared by the Lord to hear our message of the gospel and really wants to make a change. With tears in her eyes, Lucia expressed the joy she felt as her son sat by her side as we taught them in their humble home. They both wish to be baptized and find our for themselves if what we teach is true or not. This tuesday we´ll be placing a baptismal date for May!

Last of all, Family Urbina is really starting to make leaps and bounds in their spiritual progress. The dad, Jhon, was willing to close his store on Sunday to have the whole family come to church and has really put his faith and trust in the Lord to make a change in his home. This thursday we should have the birth certificate of his wife, Rosa, so we can start planning their marriage and baptism for the 17th and 18th of May.

Anyway, I feel so extremely blessed for all the incredible progress and blessings that we are receiving for our effort as a companionship. The mission is changing my life as I work as an instrument in the hands of the Lord. I truly feel the power of the Holy Ghost every time we open our mouth and declare this gospel to our little piece of Zion in the middle of Peru.

I love you all and take care this week!

Elder Lundberg

Another week rolls on by. But not just any week!

This has been an extraordinary week! This little piece of the kingdom of God called Floresta I is definitely rolling forth! Elder Gutierrez has been a real blessing of a companion, and this whole transfer will definitely be one of the best on my mission. This is going to be a super fast six weeks. Time flies on the mission when you most enjoy it for sure. It seems like I blinked since last writing an email. Also, every FIRST week of a transfer, our P-Day is on Wednesday, and the rest are on Monday . Sorry of yall were confused by that last week.

This past week we´ve been gearing up with Regina on the Restoration. She basically taught us the lesson once again, but absolutely loves the fact that there are living prohets and the Book of Mormon. Every time we teach her I feel like she´s already a member of the church. There´s just so much understand of the truth and light within her. Elder Gutierrez was super impressed by her perseverence and faith. For the third time in a row, she came to church yesterday on the dot and took in all three hours by taking copious notes, making great commentary, and helping her tag-along grandson, Sebastian, enjoy it as well.  I can´t wait for her baptism on the 27th!

Aylin is also well on her way to the waters of baptism on the 27th. This last week we moved her baptismal date one week later just to make sure she was ready. I´m all about baptizing converts, and not about numbers. So we talked it all out with her in regards to keeping the sabbath day holy, and she came to church yesterday with a smile on her face and her Book of Mormon tucked in her arms. That makes two out of two who will be getting baptized in April!

Jhon and Rosa are getting all their documents ready this week so we can set an actual marriage and baptismal date with them. As I mentioned before, we baptized their son David in March, and he´s been helping us out in animating his parents and in setting a good example. In May we´re gonna get them hitched and dunked for sure folks! They continue coming to church as well! So that makes four out of four in the chapel yesterday so far.

We also have another new investigator, Linda, who´s a single women, about age 30. Her mom is a faithful member in the ward, and Linda previously attended church for a while but yesterday was her first time while I´v been here. The missionaries sort of taught her before, but she never really had time, even though she knows the church is true. However, we had a great lesson with her yesterday, and helped her realize the necessity of perhaps giving up her job for the gospel. In the last Ensign for this month, there´s a great article about sometimes needing to give up the good things for something better, the Lord and his kingdom. Read it! But I especially find that too be a big challenge for many here as Sunday is one of the bigger business days in Peru. Linda makes five out of five in the chapel on Sunday!

This past week we were given a reference by one of our recent converts, David, to his friend, Alexis. To my wonderful surprise, his mother is already a member, but less active since a teenager, and wants to return to the church. Her husband, son and daughter, all want to listen to us and be baptized. They have three younger kids below age seven as well who love it when we visit. Alexis and his sister Amy have baptismal dates for the fourth of May. The father, Jose Luis and Mary Lou, the mom, wish to get married but lack the funds. But there´s no one better to ask for help than the missionaries! I love finding families to teach! Unfortunately, only Alexis was able to make it to church yesterday, but I have faith that next Sunday we´ll see their seven member family in Sacrament meeting! For now, we have six out of six in church yesterday!

Last of all, we were referenced to another guy named Jean Marco, age 21. He´s an old investigator. Last Friday we had a powerful lesson with him about the Plan of Salvation. He told us that his parents died a few years ago and he now lives with his older sister, who´s a less active member of the church. But Jean Marcos is a dynamic character. He´s super chill, and plays guitar and sings in a band. But he´s well put together as a person, and has a lot of light. I felt a super strong confirmation that he´s going to be a missionary one day.

Anyway, that´s the update for the week! These people are changing my life, and I feel responsible for each and every one of them in their salvation! This is a great work! I love this gospel, and know it to be eternally true!

Love you all!

Elder Lundberg

Whoa. I am so blessed.

Ok, so while my pictures are loading, this week I´ll be able to write in peace. But what a week it has been! And how cool is it now that missionaries can write to family AND friends. Pretty dang shnazzy and convenient cause.....well....time to move on from physical hand written letters. I mean.....we live in 2013 :) Only two more years until we have flying cars according to "Back to the Future."

So, first of all. GENERAL CONFERENCE. As a missionary, you realize why in the heck didn't you pay attention to General Conference before. It´s like watching the Super Bowl, World Series, and the World Cup all at the same time, but even better. haha. This General Conference was pretty great. I forgot to bring my notes from my journal to share what I wrote so I´m kind of going off memory. But I really enjoyed the talk given by Sister Dalton in the first session because of the story she shared about her husband placing the carpet underneath the pulpit after she vaccumed, and vaccumed, and vaccumed.....also, I really enjoyed Elder Eyring´s talk about the story in the New Testament after Christ resurrected from the tomb and appeared to two disciples. Basically, at the end of the talk he said that he´s seen Christ just as those two disciples saw him and I felt the spirit testify so strongly to my heart that he really is a living apostle of God. Well, my mind is racing, and my memory short so I´m having trouble remembering all that I felt without my notes was an incredible weekend.

Also, on Monday we had TRANSFERS. And wow. I stay behind in Floresta while Elder Apagueno was transferred to another area just a few blocks away, but in a different zone within Villa El Salvador. And guess what? I´ve been paired up with my former zone leader, Elder Gutierrez! I know what you think.....I´m a zone leader! WRONG. NOPE. Just a normal co-companion as before. The mission president apparently had a strong, tearful spiritual confirmation that he should pair us up together as companions. Even though this is Elder Gutierrez´s last transfer before he goes home, he´s finishing off as a co-companion with me! But how incredibly grateful I am! Elder Gutierrez is an incredible missionary. Super obedient, smart, hard working, spiritual, etc. and he´s from Guayaquil, Ecuador! I feel like I´ve been liberated to reach new heights and learn so much from a missionary who has a lot to teach me!

These past couple days we´ve been doing a LOT of street contacting, something which I haven´t really done too much with my former companions.It´s been a lot of good, hard work and the past two nights I´ve been so tired it seems like I´ve fallen asleep before laying my head on my pillow. But we both think a lot the same in the way we act and teach with the investigators, although the spiritual connection is a little more refined and experienced on Elder Gutierrez´s part. But in the last week we had some trouble with a few investogators with baptismal dates, but this week we going to make a big push to get them back on track with what matters most in their lives. 

One investigator, Regina, has her baptismal date set for the 27th of this month. She was literally so darn prepared for the gospel. Before inviting her to baptism, we showed a three minute video of Christ´s baptism and right after without hesitating she said, "Is that how you´re going to baptize me? And what day can I be baptized?!". She´s an older women about age 60 that lives with her grandson and her husband. Although there are a lot of problems in her home, she tells us every time that she doesn´t cry anymore ever since she started listening to us. She´s found peace, happiness, and calm. Her husband has even stopped drinking as much, and her grandson loves coming and participating in the primary. Regina also came to both sessions of conference last Sunday and absolutely loved it. But that´s just what this gospel does. It makes people happy. And that an absolute, ETERNAL truth.

I love being a missionary. I love the fact that all my friends are  going to be missionaries. I love a family that supports me in every aspect of my mission. I love this little part of the kingdom of God called Floresta in which I get to serve. I feel loved by a Savior who bears me up and guides me in moments when I need him most. I´m so blessed!

I love you all so much!

Elder Lundberg